How are Tsumago and Magone?

Old Mar 7th, 2006, 02:18 PM
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How are Tsumago and Magone?

What can anyone tell me about the walk between Tsumago and Magone? Is it worthwhile? Do people generally walk one way and catch transportation out of the destination city, or do people generally walk an out-and-back because they have to get back to luggage? Should I stay in one of these towns or travel in from Matsumoto? How much time should I allow for the walk?

I have another question that's not in the heading. I've read that you have to get tickets ahead of time for the old imperial palace in Kyoto. Is this something I do now or when I arrive in Kyoto?

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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 06:05 PM
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Here's the website to try to get the reservation for the Imperial Palace online. If your days are not available I really don't know the procedure to get a ticket once you're there....
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 07:07 PM
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I believe most people do the Nakasendo in the Magome to Tsumago direction, because Magome (1970ft) is higher than Tsumago (1425ft). However, the hike from Magome to the summit (2618ft) is very steep and not particularly interesting. The descent to Tsumago is gentle and scenic. I'd recommend taking a taxi to the summit (Magometoge) and walking to Tsumago from there. There is a service to ship bags from one place to the other in summer. Magome to Tsumago took me about 3.5 hours. The nearest train station to Magome is Nakastugawa and the nearest to Tsumago is Nagiso. There are buses at either end--timetables below.
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Old Mar 7th, 2006, 07:21 PM
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I forgot to mention: there a good description here:
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Old Mar 10th, 2006, 08:38 AM
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Thanks for the information on the walk, Someotherguy. If we go on the walk, I believe we'd have to do an out and back. Maybe we'll walk from your suggested starting point to Tsumago and take a taxi back to Magone. The luggage service doesn't appear to operate until April. Do you have any idea if there will be places in Magone to store luggage? The website says there is only one bus per day to Magone from Nakatsugawa St. I'm thinking we either commit to do the walk and allow a lot of time to figure it all out when we get there or scrap the idea. I read about the walk in two or three places and it looked unique. Is it worth the effort or can you recommend something else in the Matsumoto or mountain region?
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Old Mar 12th, 2006, 05:22 AM
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I suspect the best way to enjoy the Nakasendo would be to do it slowly,
taking time to explore Magome, and staying overnight in Tsumago. I
did it in a hurry (I was at Matsumotojo in the morning and had to be
in Nagoya by evening) and did not find it particularly enjoyable (it
didn't help that it was summer, and hot and humid).

BTW. I think you are misreading the timetable: there are several buses a day connecting to the trains at each end of the walk.

I enjoyed Kamikochi much more than the Nakasendo. The bus ride
between there and Matsumoto is awesome, and you can continue to
Takayama (which is very pleasant and interesting) where you can catch
the train to Nagoya (that's a very scenic journey, too). I just did
the loop walk up the river and back (about 8 miles) and found it very
pleasant and scenic (especially Myojin pond). It's good to start the
walk at Taisho pond. Don't be dismayed if there are 50 tour buses in
the main car park: the people on the buses don't venture very far and
the paths are uncrowded.

Top-level bus info:
Takayama bus station:

I used a takkyubin service to send my bag from one city to another and
just carried a small pack with enough stuff for a few days on these
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Old Mar 12th, 2006, 05:35 AM
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We did the walk in one direction. No reason to go both ways. We had left our luggage at our hotel in Matsumoto. Loved Matsumoto castle and the old part of the city. Very, very few people did the walk even tho the villages were crowded with Japanese tourists. Only saw 3 other tourists the whole walk and they were Italian. Well wothwile. Really different views of Japan from anything else we saw during our 3 weeks there. One of the best things we did in Japan.
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